Citizen Participation and Government unit contains 13 learning experiences.
Learning Experiences (Lessons) in Citizen Participation and Government Each learning experience takes about 45 minutes to teach in the device-enabled classroom.
Becoming a Citizen
Students learn how someone becomes a citizen of the United States through the process of naturalization. Then they describe the rights and responsibilities of non-citizen residents. Next, they take a sample “naturalization test.” Finally, they identify what a refugee is and consider how the U.S. handles refugees.
Duties and Responsibilities of Citizens
Students learn about the duties and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. They identify the differences between duties and responsibilities. Then they identify specific examples of duties and responsibilities. Finally, they propose a specific project to improve their community.
The Right to Vote
Students learn about the history of voting rights in the United States, including the various amendments that extended these rights over time. They create a timeline of the significant events in that process. Next they explore voter registration and requirements and explain how voting has evolved since the country’s founding. Finally, students research and create a poster that reflects voting registration requirements for elections in their local and state government.
The History of Political Parties
Students are introduced to the idea of political parties. They explore a brief history of U.S. political parties and work in small groups to research the origins, time period, and important figures and beliefs of several parties. Finally, they create a logo to represent their researched party.
Political Parties Today
Students are introduced to the current political parties in the United States. They learn about the key differences between Democrats and Republicans, particularly how they view government and specific issues. Students compare and contrast the two parties. Then they consider the value of the two-party system and make an argument for their view on the subject.
The Presidential Election Process
Students learn how the presidential election process works. They identify key steps in the process of nominating a presidential candidate. Then they learn about the Electoral College—why it was created and the role it plays in the presidential election process. They present an argument in favor of or against the continued use of the Electoral College.
Students review some of the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens, particularly the right to vote. Then they learn how to assess a political candidate by evaluating their positions on issues and leadership qualities. Finally, they consider the issues and leadership qualities they would look for most in a political candidate.
Forming Public Opinion
Students are introduced to what public opinion is. Then they learn how it is measured and what role it plays in politics. Finally, students analyze a public opinion poll and explain their findings.
The Mass Media
Students explore the role of mass media in politics, including the types of media and factors that affect coverage. They learn about important ways to make choices about the news they consume, and they consider their own responsibility as consumers. Finally, they create their own piece of media that conveys their opinion about media and consumer responsibility.
Interest Groups and Lobbying
Students are introduced to interest groups by watching an interest group ad. They learn what interest groups are and why they exist, as well as their role in the political system. In small groups, students research an interest group and share what they learn with the rest of the class. Finally, students return to the original ad they watched and analyze it.
Finding Civic Solutions
Students experience planning a civic service project. First they examine the two major preparatory steps for planning a solution to a civic problem: researching existing public policy and identifying what body is responsible for the problem. Then they analyze an example of a community project run by teens. Finally, they experience the steps themselves by choosing a problem, researching public policy alternatives, and developing a plan of action.
Current Issues: Views on Immigration
Students examine multiple perspectives on the issue of immigration. They consider how, as an informed citizen, it is important to read and think about other people’s opinions and beliefs. Then they examine the use case of the Mejia-Perez family, who face deportation to Guatemala. Finally, they conduct research and write their own position on the question: Should illegal immigrants in the United States be deported if they are parents of children who hold U.S. citizenship?